All the years I’ve worked in food service, Europeans have been the most groaned about group of people, second only to little old ladies on tour busses. They don’t tip, 90% of them don’t speak English and the 10% who do speak a different English than we do.
This means the nice train of service I have going on is set to derail at a table of foreigners and the destruction will be epic.
Since befriending Blogmella I’ve learned tipping isn’t a custom in Europe. On one hand, when in Rome… On the other hand, old habits are hard to break.
One night last winter I had a table of Hungarians (maybe) and they were incredibly abrupt. They weren’t rude, but they didn’t want me around their table other than to drop off their food and drinks. When they finished eating, they flagged me over, stacked their plates and gave me the shove off. Their English was very bad, but I can take a hint. I groaned in the waitstation about what the ticket total and expected tip was going to do to my percentage. I must have done something right because they left me 20%. I nearly fell over.
Lately I’ve started appreciating what Europeans DO bring to the restaurant. They are polite. They are tidy. Their kids are very well mannered. They aren’t needy or demanding. My service train has to slow down to get their order, but it can power back up to take care of all the other needy guests.
I’ve become more patient with their clumsy English. I smile and tell them to take their time. I know a few basic words in most languages so I thank them in their native language. I laugh with them. If nothing else, I have one stress free table in a section full of potential headaches.
Guess what has happened?!
Last week a table of French people tipped me $20 on a $70 ticket. (29%)
A group of English and German people tipped me $30 on a $100 ticket last night. (30%)
Another family of Europeans tipped me $10 on a $40 ticket last night. (25%)
I say, ‘Bring on the Europeans!’ The other servers can have all the Americans suffering through the recession.